The European Commission adopted a decision establishing an eHealth Network, as foreseen by the Directive (2011/24/EU) on Patients’ Rights in Cross-border Healthcare. For the first time, EU legislation includes provisions on eHealth with clear objectives to find modern, innovative solutions for providing better and safer healthcare for all Europeans.
European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli said: “eHealth has the potential to deliver better healthcare to more people in a more sustainable manner. I am confident that the eHealth network will play a key role in making eHealth a reality across Europe: so that routine medical checks are performed in the comfort of our homes via telemonitoring; so that we take our ePrescription along with our eTicket when we travel, with the confidence that our medical information follows us everywhere in the EU; so that all Europeans can access the best possible healthcare wherever they are“. To conclude : “I encourage all Member States to join the eHealth Network so that our joint efforts can reap benefits for all.”
Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda said: “The new eHealth Network promises to bring the health benefits of the digital economy to citizens across Europe. Interoperable eHealth can help improve the safety and efficiency of care of millions of Europeans who travel within the EU every year.”
The Network’s mission
The Network will bring together the national authorities responsible for eHealth on a voluntary basis to work on common orientations for eHealth. The aim is to ensure EU wide interoperability of electronic health systems and wider use of eHealth. The eHealth Network is expected to translate the results of numerous research projects and pilot projects into real-life accessible services for European citizens.
eHealth is healthcare practice supported by electronic processes and information communication technologies (ICTs) .
eHealth can play a central role in making health systems more efficient and effective by allowing for example remote diagnosis, remote monitoring of patients’ conditions and secure sharing of patient records between healthcare professionals. The eHealth Network will play a key role in facilitating the future development of such services across Europe.
Council Conclusions in 2009 called for an alignment of eHealth with health strategies both at EU and at National level. In 2010 a Joint Action and Thematic Network were launched under the Health Programme and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme.
To ensure coordination, coherence and consistency of work on eHealth at EU level and to avoid duplication of work, article 14 of the Cross-border Healthcare Directive (2011/24/EU) of 9 March 2011 sets up the voluntary eHealth Network adopted by today’s Decision.
The eHealth network is mandated to draw up guidelines on a minimum set of common data to be included in patients’ summaries; on methods to enable the use of medical information for public health and medical research; and on common identification and authentication measures to ensure transferability of data in cross-border healthcare.
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